Check BT phone and broadband line

I helped out one of my regular customers with a broadband issue yesterday.

His broadband had suddenly become very intermittant with the connection dropping every few minutes.

I explained the steps I normally take to diagnose the issue.

One of the first things to try is to check if your broadband problems are related to your incoming BT line.

You need to find the main incoming BT socket for the house. This will normally be a NTE5 master socket.

You can unscrew the lower half of this and remove the faceplate. Doing so will disconnect all of the internal wiring and give you access to a test socket on the right which provides a direct link to the incoming BT line.

BT-Socket

Plug your microfilter into this and connect your broadband router/modem. If your problems are instantly fixed, you know the problem relates to your internal wiring or microfilters.

Doing this his broadband and phone seemed to work correctly,

This would suggest that the problem was his internal cabling.

While still plugged into the main socket I got him to test his incoming phone line.

To do this Connect a good telephone into your master socket and dial 17070.

At the time of writing you hear a female pre-recorded voice say:

This circuit is defined as 01234 123123.
BT line test facilities.
Please press 1 for ring back, 2 for quiet line, 3 for fast test, 4 for fast cleanse or clear down.

Select option 2 (quiet line) and listen to what you hear. You should hear perfect silence on the line – there should be no pops, clicks, whistles, buzzing and the like. If you do not hear silence first check it isn’t the phone you are using, wiggle the cable a bit to see if that affects it, if not then you know you have a problem with your line to the BT exchange.

For my client this test was also clear.

The next test was to reassemble the master socket and try the same router and telephone tests from mthe other sockets in the house.

This showed a problem with the internal BT wiring or the socket.

The next step was to check the socket.
There’s a wire inside the socket called the bell wire, which used to be used to make the bells on phones ring, but is now obsolete. However, it can still cause interference and slow down your broadband.

Unscrew the faceplate of your master socket and look at the wires on the back of it. Only 2 and 5 should be connected. 1 and 6 are not needed in the UK and 3 and 4 are now obsolete – the bell wire, if wired up, will be on connection 3.

If any of those wires are connected, gently pull them out, being careful not to disconnect 2 and 5. Screw the socket back together.

All this seemed to be in order.However tracing the telephone line back from the socket to the main socket we found an area of cable which had been damaged.

The next job will be to replace the cable and test again.

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